Which Am I?


Jesus has an interesting conversation in the account in Luke 10:25-37. A lawyer approaches Jesus with a very serious question. “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Truly this should get Jesus’ attention. Jesus answered with another question. “What is written in the law? How readest thou?” Now this man, being a lawyer, knew the law. The lawyer quoted the law perfectly, and Jesus said, “This do, and thou shalt live.” Then the lawyer posed another question, “But Jesus, who is my neighbor?” To this question, Jesus shared a true to life account. Jesus uses some less important characters to make us decide important issues in life.
Take a look at the characters in focus:
Lawyer – “One who is conversant with the law.” He gave a correct answer. He knew the law.
A certain man – “Probably a common man, a Jew.”
Priest – “Religious rank with natural superiority, an elder, son of Aaron.”
Levite – “Son of Levi, one with distinctive service in the sanctuary.”
Samaritan – “Despised rank, half Jew, half Gentile, least expected to respond correctly.”
Thieves – “Evil men, took advantage of the people, stole from, and injured the public.”
As we read the story, our feelings and emotions are drawn into the picture. Notice Jesus never said how dangerous the route was that this certain man chose to travel on. He was just going from Jerusalem to Jericho, but he encountered some thieves who took advantage of the lone traveler. They stole from him and wounded him physically, leaving him wounded and in great need! He was lying there half dead!
Along comes a priest (in today’s terms a bishop, minister, or deacon); he saw the need, but passed by on the other side without offering assistance. He was maybe on the way to a religious meeting and not willing to get involved.
Next, a Levite came along. He was used to getting involved with the most menial tasks at the temple. He showed more attention than the priest. He came and looked at the need, but deciding not to give assistance, passed by on the other side.
But a certain Samaritan came by, stopped, and was moved with compassion. He got involved in the man’s physical need. He cleaned him up, gave some medication for the wounds, put the poor man on his beast, and transported him to an inn (hospital). He didn’t dial 911 nor depend on government aid but used his resources to pay the costs of the much-needed assistance. He even offered to assist more if needed!
Then Jesus drove his point home. Which one of these three (priest, Levite, or Samaritan) was a neighbor to the man in need?” Again the lawyer answered correctly. Jesus said, “Go and do thou likewise.”
I’m challenged to ask myself the questions, not only, “What best describes me in the past?”, but, “Which one of the three do I best represent right now when opportunities to help my brother, friend, or a stranger come my way?”
May we respond to the challenges we encounter in such a way that we may one day hear the blessed words, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt 25:40b).